Local stitches quilt for charity

Laura Merrick spent three months hand stitching a big pink quilt that has raised $1,500 so far for the Susan G. Komen breast cancer foundation.

At age 90, this is no small feat. Merrick suffers from arthritis in her hands.

"I don't quilt continuously because my back hurts, my eyes hurt so it takes longer for me to quilt," said Merrick. "I used to be able to quilt a quilt in two weeks."

Jillian Holbert: Portales News Tribune

Laura Merrick shows off her quilt. Merrick is raising money for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation with her quilt at Ashley Furniture.

Merrick started the project with the intention of quilting for the sake of quilting. After she picked out the colors to go with the design, she was continually reminded of breast cancer, a disease that was present in her daughter, sister and niece.

Unbeknownst to Merrick, her family had made donations to the Susan G. Komen foundation in her honor. According to Megan Hamilton, Merrick's granddaughter, the quilt was originally supposed to be auctioned off but the family wanted Merrick to keep her quilt.

"This is the first quilt she's ever done for herself," said Hamilton. "She's always quilted for other people so after 90 years, I think she was more than due."

Jillian Holbert: Portales News Tribune

Merrick's completed quilt rests atop a bed in her home.

Merrick started quilting in quilting clubs in Los Alamos and it quickly turned into a part-time business because Merrick became known as one of the few hand stitchers in a world of machine stitched quilts.

"A quilt by machine gets stiff and hard," said Merrick. "When you cuddle up to them, they are hard and stiff, like a newspaper."

Very much in the way that runners raise money by participating in marathons, Merrick is raising money by quilting. Her quilt will be hung this Sunday at Ashley Furniture for about a week to promote donations to the Susan G. Komen foundation.

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